Axver (axver) wrote,

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U2 fanaticism, and on a completely unrelated note, the decline of Western civilisation.

Want musical variety? Forget multiple bands. Just become a U2 fan!

When I woke up this morning and loaded up LiveJournal, I did not expect to find a comment alerting me to the existence of the FULL TOTP set. I owe desert_sky many thanks for that, as I probably would have sat around on LJ for about an hour before first heading to Interference to catch up on the latest news. I was assuming no-one else had recorded the TOTP set and that we wouldn't get to hear Desire or She's A Mystery To Me.

Thankfully, I was wrong. Not only had someone taped the whole main set, they had also recorded the rehearsals. Let me just say this - All Because Of You is a fantastic song! When I first heard this, I wasn't really that keen on it. The original leak taped from outside the Dublin studios was that bad I initially claimed it wasn't even U2, and the portions of ABOY that leaked from TOTP yesterday failed to majorly excite me until the solo (well, besides the lyrics to that wonderful second verse!), but with this whole version ... what a song! The start is wonderful, it has Edge's classic ringing guitar, and the solo! Oh, the solo! I love this song now. I'm ALIIIIVE!

Desire! This hasn't been played electrically since 1993, and they so obviously improvised the ending, but it's damn good! It was initially really hyped up and I thought Edge did some of his shredding that he did during some Lovetown performances, but although he doesn't, it's still an excellent performance, and yay for electric Desire! She's A Mystery To Me ... really random addition, and it's a shame they didn't play the whole thing. Still very cool to hear the song, though!

And the best until last ... CITY OF BLINDING LIGHTS! This song is stunning, absolutely STUNNING. What can I say? There are no words to describe just how GOOD it is! It is beautiful, it is masterful, and it is going to be absolutely INCREDIBLE in concert! This song is the very essence of U2. It is rousing, it is powerful, and hell, it is just some of the best damn music made. AND NO-ONE HAS SAID IT IS THE BEST TRACK ON THE ALBUM! Reviews have said Miracle Drug and Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, while Neil McCormick has said Crumbs From Your Table (which NME incidentally labelled a 'b-side', ha!). In that case, this album is set to be absolutely FANTASTIC. I mean, wow, I am awestruck by COBL. I can't think of how to describe it or how to express my excitement; it is another of those U2 songs that gets into you and touches your very soul. And of course it's going to do that - Where The Streets Have No Name, the greatest rock song ever made, is its parent!

This is the BEST time to be a U2 fan!

Today, I found myself with the home to myself, and there was only one thing to do - put on the Under A Blood Red Sky video ... LOUD! This is my favourite concert ever, and although the (official) video is not of the full concert, it's still bloody amazing. If the Best Of 1990-2000 Mix of Gone made me a fanatic, this performance of 11 O'clock Tick Tock (still my favourite to this date) permanently cemented my fandom. And of course, there's nearly the whole video to get through beforehand, so it's a real treat for someone like me.

I have never played anything this loud before. I put the video on and ... I just kept turning the volume up. I couldn't stop. With each song, it got louder. During Surrender, I was throwing myself off my bed. Sunday Bloody Sunday, I was waving my imaginary white flag - and discovering why weight loss can be bad! People, if you are going to dance madly to a solo, make sure you fill out your pants. Really. Don't do what I did. Anyway ... New Year's Day found more wild solo imitation, Gloria featured some funky air bass, and all through it, I was pretty much insane. But all of that paled into nothing with one yell of ...


If you think what I said before would have been amusing to watch, you would have broken most of your ribs laughing at me during 11 O'clock Tick Tock. But this song warrants such a reaction! ESPECIALLY this performance. I mean ... DAMN! Edge is absolutely SCORCHING. The song absolutely powers along, "We thought that we had the answers; it was the questions we had wrong," and then it gets to THE SOLOS! In my room, it was TOTAL MAYHEM. I was here, there, and everywhere. I was "call[ing] out your name," I was Edge and Bono and by the end of it, I was so damn stuffed that just after air guitarising the final notes, I fell backwards onto my bed out of exhaustion and simply could not get back up for I Will Follow or 40. My shirt was dripping with sweat in a big way and I had loved every second of it. It was exhilarating and thrilling and WOOO! ELEVEN O'CLOCK TICK TOCK!

Who needs a workout when they can watch the UABRS video? There's my exercise for the month!

Yes, send me to the mental asylum straight away; U2 has sent me thoroughly insane and there is no cure.

Actually, don't send me just yet. I have a little bit of a rant to present. I will perform this in speech form on Thursday night (hopefully fully memorised), but for now, it's a LiveJournal rant. Take it as such, but if you do have any suggestions on how I could improve it, feel free to help me out. Though honestly, I think I'm more interested in opinions and debate. That's the kind of thing that makes LiveJournal interesting.

Kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall, and in much the same way, once glorious civilisations slip into decline. Many of the inhabitants of the West, however, would like to believe that their civilisation will defy the dictates of history and remain in everlasting permanence. This arrogant confidence can be seen as fallacious in light of the traits nurtured by the West’s consumerist materialism, the rampant environmental disrespect and degradation perpetrated by multinationals and societal groups, and the petty, destructive political squabbles found at even the highest levels of government. Western civilisation, once the crowning glory and achievement of European progression, has entered into recession, and as always, it is worthless folly to fight the tide.

A sugar-coated civilisation hidden from the harsh realities of the world and permitted to respond with apathetic indifference to human suffering cannot even hope to last throughout the aeons. The West, founded by intellectuals and philosophers, has morphed into a media-centric culture of conformity ravaged by an ignorance of history and victim to a scourge of stereotypical attitudes falsely labelled as independent thought. Encouraged by the media is the vague concept of political correctness, an ever-present attitude that ultimately stifles the alternate and radical thought that initially led to the rise of Western culture and civilisation. The theologian Iranaeus stated that the descriptions of Gnostic heresies were sufficient to disprove them, and in much the same way, detailing political correctness is sufficient to show its absurdity. It is politically correct to accept the accepted and tolerate the tolerated; it is politically correct to claim atheism and subscribe to the latest popular scientific theories while condemning the religious for similar adherence to doctrinal statements; and it is politically correct to align oneself with counter-cultures that rebel against conformity through the very same conformity.

It may appear rash to state what appear to be generalisations, but they are signs of a society in decline, and they are ever-present in today’s Western civilisation. The media, formerly an informative service, has now taken on a position of pervasive influence, subtly forcing its biases upon a public lost to blissful ignorance. It shelters viewers – the vast majority of Westerners – from the painful realities of their world through a staple diet of politically correct, shallow pop-culture programming and a fraudulent yet reassuring comfort zone. A thriving society is one that takes an interest in the world and the less fortunate while encouraging broad intellectual thought in an attempt to create improvement. However, in the present-day West, when the comfort zone of conformism is compromised, people are permitted to dismiss crucial issues as too difficult to solve and return to the comfort of a lifestyle designed to provide stimulation to the consumer without requiring serious commitment. Ignorance is said to be bliss, but it is also decline. Unwilling to step outside of the welcoming comfort zone, the average Westerner is not even aware that Western civilisation is fading from its past glory.

A core element of the comfort zone and a typical pattern of behaviour of multinational corporations is the wanton consumption of finite resources and the destruction of the physical environment of Earth. Many in the industrialised West are not even aware of the dangerous overuse to which they contribute. The real statistics are startling. If the entire world consumed at the same rate as the United States of America, nine more planets would be required to sustain the level of resource usage. The figures are not much better for other bastions of the West, including the United Kingdom and Australia. A civilisation that destroys the very world it inhabits can hardly expect to last – planet Earth is resilient and has witnessed many destructive cultures decline and vanish in times gone. An environmentally unsustainable civilisation is ultimately a declining civilisation.

It is a sad fact that exorbitant resource consumption and environmental degradation is fostered and encouraged by Western governments and multinational corporations. The reality is that a society raised on a particular level of consumption dictate the marketplace, and very few are willing to forego their so-called “creature comforts.” A prime example of this is the motor vehicle and transport industry – cars are extremely valuable in today’s society, and many people do not give public transportation a thought, or in some cases, simply do not have it available as an option. Governments and corporations are not ignorant to this fact, and the oil that powers motor vehicles is arguably the most valuable commodity on the planet. It was once said that money makes the world go ‘round, but the person who formulated that phrase was clearly oblivious to oil. Regardless of one’s political allegiances or opinions on recent world events, it would be ignorant to believe that the control and supply of oil was not a major contributing factor in the USA’s decision to invade the nation of Iraq. Western civilisation, instead of advancing through its own means, pretends to advance by seeking the resources that will sustain its wanton usage. One only has to look to the Romans to see the folly of this pattern of behaviour. A civilisation bloated on its own grandeur and excess, blind to its recklessness, is already in the state of decline that will ultimately lead to its downfall.

The obsession with the control of resources is the stimulating force behind many actions of Western governments. The saddest tragedy of the West is that it has always been a divided civilisation split into bickering, sometimes hostile nations. It rose to prominence already riddled by the division that would tear it from its glorious peaks. A divided civilisation is a declining civilisation, and the Roman Empire, the greatest lesson of history, substantially evidences this through its catastrophic collapse that occurred as a result of the political split of the empire into two independent units. One split was enough to cause the demise of the glorious empire that ruled the whole known world; how much more must the political rifts of the West contribute to its decline! The divisions present at the birth of Western civilisation have culminated in today’s hostile political atmosphere where leaders pursue individual objectives at the expense of global and humanitarian interests. Recent disputes between different sections of Western society, notably the infamous hostility that recently occurred between the USA and France, illustrate the inability of governing bodies to co-operate or strive for the greater good of the civilisation as a whole. Instead of firmly ensuring the West’s position as a beacon of freedom, progress, and invention, political leaders work against each other in their attempts to secure wealth and resources. Co-operation has swiftly declined from a position that was not initially well-established, and the entire civilisation is destined to follow.

It is not pleasant to observe something in decline, particularly not when it is one’s own civilisation, but the harsh reality cannot be denied. In this world, little is permanent, and the testament of history vividly illustrates the temporary nature of civilisations. Multitudes of reasons can account for the decline of once-thriving powers, such as military defeat, political mismanagement, and large scale economic failure. Yet to conclusively fall, the West remains the dominant civilisation in the world but is most certainly in recession, afflicted by a variety of ailments. The media encourages a politically correct culture protected from the turmoil of the globe via a comfort zone replete with materialism; finite, irreplaceable resources are used with careless disregard; wilful environmental degradation is rife; and political disunity shatters the co-operation necessary for continued advancement. The decline of Western civilisation has begun, and there is little time left to heed the advice of artist David Wojnarowicz and "smell the flowers while you can."

--- 10:07pm ---

This is for all of you who do NOT have the clips from Top of the Pops. I don't know how long these links will remain active, so grab them while you can. The files are roughly 15 and 20MB respectively. If you want the tracks split ... look elsewhere! This is all I have (and I prefer it unsplit, though I may make a single copy of COBL just so I can repeat it, and repeat it ... and repeat it ... and repeat it ...).

1. Vertigo
2. All Because Of You
3. City Of Blinding Lights

1. Vertigo
2. All Because Of You
3. Desire
4. She's A Mystery To Me
5. City Of Blinding Lights

By the way, for the record, Miami/Bullet was freakin' AMAZING live and don't knock Miami until you have heard the 28 August 1997 concert.

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  • You'd think I'd forgotten about this or something!

    Well, come June this year I'll have been on LiveJournal for a decade. That's pretty scary. Not that I've updated much over the last…

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    Best year ever. PS Damn straight this is Axver, returning from the blogging wilderness after not posting anything since March. I guess after many…

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